The Blue Jays have been denied approval by the Canadian government to play in Toronto amid the coronavirus pandemic, the AP reports. Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced in a statement Saturday the federal government had denied the request, confirming what an official familiar with the matter had told the AP earlier. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak ahead of the announcement. The team had been given clearance by city and provincial governments to play regular-season games at Rogers Centre and was awaiting approval from Canada’s federal government.
"Unlike preseason training, regular season games would require repeated cross-border travel of Blue Jays players and staff, as well as opponent teams into and out of Canada. Of particular concern, the Toronto Blue Jays would be required to play in locations where the risk of virus transmission remains high," Mendicino said. "Based on the best-available public health advice, we have concluded the cross-border travel required for MLB regular season play would not adequately protect Canadians' health and safety." The Blue Jays were informed via a phone call. The team's alternate site for home games is its training facility in Dunedin, Florida, one of the states hardest-hit by the virus. Players have said they preferred to play in Toronto.
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